Dypsis nodifera

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Dypsis (DIP-sis)
nodifera (noh-dih-FEHR-ah)
15875057715 e0e134c50e o.jpg
Vohimana Reserve, Madagascar. "Photo by Olivier Reilhes"
Scientific Classification
Genus: Dypsis (DIP-sis)
nodifera (noh-dih-FEHR-ah)
None set.
Native Continent
Habit: Solitary
Leaf type: Pinnate
Survivability index
Common names
Ovana (Betsimisaraka); Bedoda (Betsimisaraka); Sincaré = probably Tsinkiara, a general name for small palms. Tsirika, Tsingovatra (Betsimisaraka; these are fairly general palm names).

Habitat and Distribution

Endemic to Northwest, East and Southeast Madagascar. Moist forest, on steep or slight mid slopes, or
Madagascar. Photo by Dr. Mijoro Rakotoarinivo/Kew.
littoral forest on white sand and then on the flat; alt. 5-1440 m.


Solitary (but sometimes subcolonial) palm. STEM 2-10 m tall, 1.2-6 cm in diam., 1-3 cm diam. near the apex, sometimes procumbent with only the distal part erect; stilt roots sometimes present; internodes 3.5-10 cm long, dull grey to distally red-brown; wood hard; crownshaft pale green with reddish flecks, 25-35 cm long. LEAVES 6-12 in the crown (to 17 and 3-ranked according to Dorr), erect to porrect, slightly arching; sheath 12-30 cm long, 1.5-1.6 cm across, closed, pale green or grey-green, sometimes tinged with pink, with scattered (distally denser) red-purple scales, without obvious ligules or (more often) with dark triangular auricles 0.5-5 cm high; petiole absent or up to 28 cm long, proximally 5-12 x 3-6 mm across, distally 3.5-10 x 2.5-4 mm across, yellow-green, adaxially channelled or flat, less often slightly convex, densely scaly; rachis 24-75 cm long, in mid-leaf 3-5 x 2-3.5 mm, densely scaly on both surfaces but adaxially glabrescent; leaflets (12-) 23-59 on each side of the rachis, in groups of 2-6, the groups at intervals of 5-15 cm, the leaflets within the groups 0.2-0.8 cm apart, twisted and fanned within the groups with their apices pendulous, within the groups the leaflets increasing in size from proximal to distal, often with swellings 2-4 mm across at the insertion point on the rachis, the distal often reflexed towards the leaf base, the proximal 14-35 x 0.1-1.8 cm, the median 12-37 x 1.2-4.5 cm, the distal 6.5-20.5 x 0.4-3.5 cm, proximal and median narrowly ovate, long-acumi-nate, dark green, with 1-7 main veins and minute scattered reddish scales, larger scales on the margins and occasionally some medium-sized (3-4 mm) ramenta in the proximal part, distal pair joined at the base for 0.3-3.3 cm, with 1-5 main veins and dentate narrow apices. INFLORESCENCE interfoliar to infrafoliar, 20-90 cm long, branched to 3 orders, less often to 2 or 4 orders, porrect to arching with pendulous rachillae, protandrous; peduncle (5 -) 13-32 cm long, proximally 10-15 x 5-8 mm across, distally 5-9 x 4-6 mm, densely scaly; prophyll 7-33 cm long, 0.9-3 cm wide, borne at 2-6 cm above the base of the peduncle, glabrous, opening near the apex only; peduncular bract inserted at 4-11 cm from the base of the peduncle, soon deciduous, 12-26 cm long, opening over its entire length except for the 0.5- cm long beak, adaxially rich red-brown, abaxially pale brown with some scattered scales; non-tubular peduncular bract inserted at 12-18 cm from the base of the peduncle, triangular, 0.2-1.8 cm long; rachis (7-) 13-30 cm long, densely scaly but glabrescent, with rachis bracts to 12 x 8 mm, with 8-14 branched and 6-10 unbranched first order branches, the proximal ones basally 5-12 x 3-5 mm across; rachillae (7-) 12-34 cm long, about 1 mm across, puberulous but glabrescent, with spaced superficial triads; buds red, flowers white, pink or cher-ry-red. STAMINATE FLOWERS with sepals imbricate, 0.8-1.2 x 1-1.6 mm, proximally keeled and gibbous, concave, with ragged membranous margins; petals red, with fleshy apex, 0.8-1.6 x 1.7-2.3 mm, broadly ovate, rounded with small apiculus; stamens 6, didymous, biseriate, with the antepetalous stamens inserted higher up and more central than the antesepalous ones, filaments 0.5-1 x 0.5-0.7 mm and triangular, anthers 0.3-0.4 x 0.5-0.6 mm, the locules dorsifixed, proximally divergent, obtuse, not versatile; pistillode invisible or nearly so. PISTILLATE FLOWERS with sepals 1.2-1.5 x 1.5-1.9 mm, broadly elliptic; petals white, elliptical with broad membranous wings, distally fleshy, 1.4-2.2 x 2-2.5 mm; staminodes six, minute; gynoecium 1-1.5 x 1.3-1.5 mm, asymmetric, the style arms up to 0.6 mm long. FRUIT ellipsoid, green (always?), 8-10 x 5-8 mm, rounded at both ends; endocarp fibrous, with somewhat anastomosing fibres. SEED ellipsoid, about x 5.5 mm, with rounded ends; endocarp deeply (> 50 %) ruminate. (J. Dransfield and H. Beentje. 1995)/Palmweb. Editing by edric.


Lightly shaded, moist, but well drained position. A very attractive, and easily grown garden plant. Cold Hardiness Zone: 10a

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Comments and Curiosities

This is one of the commonest and most widespread of all Madagascar palms, occurring from sea level up to nearly 1500 m. It is a very attractive single-stemmed species with a slender trunk and leaves with strongly grouped leaflets. In fact it appears uncannily like D. pinnatifrons, and, without staminate flowers and/or fruit it is impossible to tell them apart. The two species can also grow in the same habitat and area, to add to the confusion, but generally, the present species is the smaller and more slender of the two. Young seedlings, however, seem to be easily identified (see notes under D. pinnatifrons). The exposed forms of D. nodifera with very narrow leaflets can be strikingly beautiful. D. nodifera is undoubtedly in cultivation, where it will be impossible to distinguish from D. pinnatifrons until it flowers. (J. Dransfield and H. Beentje. 1995)/Palmweb.

Conservation: Not threatened. Widespread and common.

Uses: Hollowed out stems are used as blowpipes, for poison darts.

External Links


Phonetic spelling of Latin names by edric.

Special thanks to Geoff Stein, (Palmbob) for his hundreds of photos.

Special thanks to Palmweb.org, Dr. John Dransfield, Dr. Bill Baker & team, for their volumes of information and photos.

Glossary of Palm Terms; Based on the glossary in Dransfield, J., N.W. Uhl, C.B. Asmussen-Lange, W.J. Baker, M.M. Harley & C.E. Lewis. 2008. Genera Palmarum - Evolution and Classification of the Palms. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. All images copyright of the artists and photographers (see images for credits).

Dransfield, J. & Beentje, H. 1995. The Palms of Madagascar. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew and The International Palm Society.
Many Special Thanks to Ed Vaile for his long hours of tireless editing and numerous contributions.

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